The arrivals of unaccompanied children at the border appear to be slowing, but it's too early to call the crisis over yet.
Apprehensions of unaccompanied children at the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector in Texas, where most of the children have entered the U.S., dropped to 977 for the week of July 6-12, averaging 139 a day, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the slackening can't be attributed to any one factor, but added that the administration's response, including working with Central American leaders, warning of the journey's dangers and warning apprehended migrants would be returned, as well as seasonal flows, played a role.
By comparison, the total for June 9-14 was 1,888, with a daily average of 315, according to Customs and Border Protection data. More than a week ago, agents in Mission, Texas, told NBC they were seeing drops in immigrants crossing illegally there.
Higher than anticipated arrivals have surprised officials and helped overwhelmed border facilities for weeks. More than 57,000 children have been apprehended after crossing the border into the U.S. since Oct. 1.
“While the rate of unaccompanied children apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley appears to be moving downward compared to earlier this year, we continue to prepare for any change in current conditions,” said Marsha Catron, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman.
From June 22 to 28, there were a total of 1,985 apprehensions and a daily average of 283. It declined further the week of June 29 to July 5, when there was a total of 1,260 apprehensions and a daily average of 180.
Kenneth Wolfe, spokesman for Health and Human Services, said his agency has cleared all the backlog of children apprehended by Border Patrol who were awaiting to designated to be placed in the HHS unaccompanied children program shelters. Earnest said apprehensions of adults with children also have decreased since the end of June.
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– Suzanne Gamboa